Old Italic

The Old Italic script unifies a number of related historical alphabets from the Italian peninsula. These alphabets were used to write Etruscan, Faliscan, South Picene, North Picene, Oscan, Umbrian, and other Sabellian languages. The Old Italic alphabets developed from the West Greek alphabet from Euboea, which was used at Ischia and Cumae in the bay of Naples in the 8C BCE.

Unicode blocks Old Italic
Alternate names
Timeframe x-8C to -1C
Regionen
Type alphabet
Alternate names variable
Status historical
Number of speakers 0
Sprachen
Main sources Bonfante, L. "The Scripts of Italy" in The World’s Writing Systems, ed. Peter T. Daniels & William Bright. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 297-311.
Secondary sources
Proposal

Old Persian

The Old Persian script, an alphabetic writing system that contains some syllabic aspects, was invented for use in monumental inscriptions of the Achaemenid king Darius I by about 525 BCE. This is one of the cuneiform scripts. Although it may appear similar to Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform, only one sign (LA) was borrowed from Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform.

Unicode blocks Old Persian
Alternate names
Timeframe x-525 to -4C
Regionen
Type alphabet (with syllabic elements)
Alternate names left to right
Status historical
Number of speakers 0
Sprachen
Main sources Schmitt, Rüdiger. 2004. "Old Persian" in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World’s Ancient Languages, ed. Roger Woodard. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 718-723.
Secondary sources Testen, D. "Old Persian Cuneiform" in The World’s Writing Systems, ed. Peter T. Daniels & William Bright. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 134-137.
Proposal http://std.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc2/wg2/docs/n2583.pdf

Old South Arabian

The Old South Arabian script (also caled Ancient South Arabian) was used throughout the Arabian Peninsula, and most commonly used to write Sabaic. It was also used for a variety of other languages, such as Minaic, Qatabanic, Hadramitic, and Himyaritic. Samples of Old South Arabian can be traced back to the 8C BCE. Usage had declined by 7C CE when it was gradually supplanted by the Arabic script. The script appears in an angular form in monumental inscriptions, and a cursive form found on objects such as wood and leather. Some older texts are in boustrophedon style.

Unicode blocks Old South Arabian
Alternate names
Timeframe x-8C to ca. 7C
Regionen
Type abjad
Alternate names right to left
Status historical
Number of speakers 0
Sprachen
Main sources Nebes, Norbert, and Peter Stein. 2004. "Ancient South Arabian" in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World’s Ancient Languages, ed. Roger Woodard. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 455-456.
Secondary sources O’Connor, M. 1996. “Epigraphic Semitic scripts” in The World’s Writing Systems, ed. Peter T. Daniels & William Bright. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 88-107.
Proposal http://std.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc2/wg2/docs/n3937.pdf

Old Turkic

The Old Turkic script is the earliest known script used to write the Old Turkic language. It was used in a wide area, spanning the grasslands of Mongolia, but was concentrated in area of the Orkhon River in Mongolia and Yenisei River in Siberia. The script is probably derived from an Aramaic script used for Iranian. The characters bear a superficial resemblance to the Germanic Runic alphabet, and hence the script has been called "Turkic Runes" or "Turkic Runiform." Inscriptions dating to the 8C CE were found in the 19C in the Orkhon River valley in Mongolia. The script served as the national script of the Türk empire of Mongolia and surrounding areas, but seems to have died out in the 9C, when Uighur script (of the Uighur empire) supplanted it. A later variant of the script, known as Yenisei or Siberian runes, were used in the Yenisei area and other parts of Siberia in the later 8C CE. A few Iranian texts have been found in this script.

Unicode blocks Old Turkic
Alternate names
Timeframe 8C to 9C
Regionen
Type alphabet
Alternate names right to left vertically
Status historical
Number of speakers 0
Sprachen
Main sources Kara, G. 1996. "Aramaic Scripts for Altaic Languages" in The World’s Writing Systems, ed. Peter T. Daniels & William Bright. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 536-558.
Secondary sources
Proposal http://std.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc2/wg2/docs/n3357.pdf

Optical Character Recognition

The Optical Character Recognition block includes those symbolic characters of the OCR-A character set that do not correspond to ASCII characters. It also includes magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) symbols used to process checks. The OCR-A font was developed to meet the standards of the American National Standards Institute in order to process documents by businesses such as banks and credit card companies. It dates back to ca. 1966. MICR was developed in the 1950s.

Unicode blocks Optical Character Recognition
Alternate names
Timeframe 1950s and 1960s to present
Regionen
Type symbols
Alternate names
Status living
Number of speakers
Sprachen
Main sources The Unicode Consortium. 2011. The Unicode Standard, Version 6.0, defined by: The Unicode Standard, Version 6.0. Mountain View, CA: The Unicode Consortium, p. 498 (Section 15.6).
Secondary sources
Proposal

Oriya

The Oriya script is used to write the Oriya language of the Orissa state in India as well as Sanskrit and minority languages such as Kuvi (Khondi) and Santali. The script is categorized as a North Indian script, structurally similar to Devanagari. Some of the letter shapes resemble those used for the Tamil script. The Oriya script was developed ca. 1051.

Unicode blocks Oriya
Alternate names
Timeframe 1051 to present
Regionen
Type abugida
Alternate names left to right
Status living
Number of speakers 38.6 million
Sprachen
Main sources Mahapatra, B.P. 1996. “Oriya Writing” in The World’s Writing Systems, ed. Peter T. Daniels & William Bright. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 404-407.
Secondary sources
Proposal

Osmanya

The Osmanya script is an alphabet used for the Somali language. It was created circa 1920 by Cismaan Yuusuf Keenadiid to replace an Arabic-based orthography devised by Sheikh Uweys of the Confraternity Qadiriyyah. Osmanya has since been replaced by the Latin orthography of Muuse Xaaji Ismaaciil Galaal (1914–1980). Although the Osmanya script was adopted in 1961 in Somalia, in 1969 a coup took place in Somalia, and one of the stated goals was to resolve the debate over the writing sytem. In 1973, the Latin orthography was adopted. A few users may still be using the Osmanya script, but it is classified as "historical" here.

Unicode blocks Osmanya
Alternate names
Timeframe 20C
Regionen
Type alphabet
Alternate names left to right
Status historical
Number of speakers 0
Sprachen
Main sources Gregersen, Edgar A. 1977. Language in Africa: An Introductory Survey. New York: Gordon and Breach.
Secondary sources Afkeenna iyo fartiisa: buug koowaad (Our language and its handwriting: book one). Xamar: Goosanka afka iyo suugaanta Soomaalida, 1971.
Proposal

Phags-pa

The Phags-pa script is an historic writing system that was used to write Mongolian and Chinese and a few other languages. The script was created by the Tibetan lama Blo-gros rGyal-mtshan (1235–1280 CE) to replace the Uighur-derived script that had been used to write Mongolian since the time of Genghis Khan (ruled 1206-1227). The new script, commissioned by Khubilai Khan (reigned 1260–1294), was also meant to write the other languages spoken in the Mongol empire. In 1269, an imperial edict promulgated Phags-Pa as the national script of the Mongol empire, which from 1279 to 1368, as the Yuan dynasty, encompassed all of China. It was used extensively in the Yuan dynasty, but never succeeded in replacing the earlier Mongolian script.

Unicode blocks Phags-pa
Alternate names
Timeframe ca. 1260 to 1368
Regionen
Type abugida
Alternate names vertical
Status historical
Number of speakers 0
Sprachen
Main sources Van der Kuijp, L. 1996. "The Tibetan Script and Derivatives” in The World’s Writing Systems, ed. Peter T. Daniels & William Bright. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 431-441.
Secondary sources
Proposal http://std.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc2/wg2/docs/n2869.pdf

Phaistos Disc

The Phaistos disc, a disc of fired clay imprinted on two sides with stamped symbols, was found during an archaeological dig in Phaistos, Crete in 1908. The date of the disc is probably the middle or late Minoan Bronze Age, from the mid-18C to mid-14C BCE, and is contemporary with Linear A. The symbols, which appear on the disc in a spiral pattern, remain undeciphered. The disc seems to be the only known example of these symbols.

Unicode blocks Phaistos Disc
Alternate names
Timeframe x-18C? or later
Regionen
Type symbols
Alternate names unknown
Status historical
Number of speakers 0
Sprachen
Main sources Bennett, E. 1996. "Aegean Scripts" in The World’s Writing Systems, ed. Peter T. Daniels & William Bright. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 125-133.
Secondary sources
Proposal http://std.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc2/wg2/docs/n3066.pdf

Phoenician

The Phoenician alphabet evolved from ca. 12 C BCE until 2C BCE in the area surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. An early form of the alphabet acted as the forerunner of Etruscan, Latin, Greek, Aramaic, Syriac, and Hebrew scripts. The Phoenician alphabet might be considered the first alphabetic script to have been widely used. The characters in the Phoenician block are meant to represent texts in Palaeo-Hebrew, Archaic Phoenician, Phoenician, Early Aramaic, late Phoenician cursive, Phoenician papyri, Siloam Hebrew, Hebrew seals, Ammonite, Moabite, and Punic.

Unicode blocks Phoenician
Alternate names
Timeframe x-12C to -2C
Regionen
Type abjad
Alternate names right to left
Status historical
Number of speakers 0
Sprachen
Main sources O’Connor, M. 1996. “Epigraphic Semitic scripts” in The World’s Writing Systems, ed. Peter T. Daniels & William Bright. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 88-107.
Secondary sources Goerwitz, R. 1996. "The Jewish Scripts" in The World’s Writing Systems, ed. Peter T. Daniels & William Bright. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 487-498.
Proposal http://std.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc2/wg2/docs/n2746.pdf

Phonetic Extensions

The Phonetic Extensions block is made up of non-IPA phonetic extensions. The block is comprised of superscript modifier letters and characters from technical orthographies used by linguists, especially those from the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet (UPA, also called Finno-Ugric Transcription or FUT), a highly specialized system used in Uralic linguistic description for more than 100 years. Additional phonetic characters appear in the Phonetic Extensions Supplement block.

Unicode blocks Phonetic Extensions, Phonetic Extensions Supplement
Alternate names
Timeframe
Regionen
Type alphabet
Alternate names
Status living
Number of speakers
Sprachen
Main sources MacMahon, M. 1996. “Phonetic Notation” in The World’s Writing Systems, ed. Peter T. Daniels & William Bright. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 821-846.
Secondary sources
Proposal

Playing Cards

The Playing Cards block includes characters that can represent the 52-card deck commonly used today and the 56-card deck found in some European games. The characters map to the 56-card Minor Arcana of Western Tarot, whence they derive. Regional variants, found for example in German or Swiss-German playing cards, can be handled in fonts.

Unicode blocks Playing Cards
Alternate names
Timeframe
Regionen
Type symbols
Alternate names
Status living
Number of speakers
Sprachen
Main sources The Unicode Consortium. 2011. The Unicode Standard, Version 6.0, Mountain View, CA: The Unicode Consortium, p. 506 (Section 15.8).
Secondary sources
Proposal

Private Use Area

There are no glyphs in this Unicode block

Unicode blocks Private Use Area
Alternate names
Timeframe
Regionen
Type
Alternate names
Status historical
Number of speakers 0
Sprachen
Main sources The Unicode Consortium. 2011. The Unicode Standard, Version 6.0, defined by: The Unicode Standard, Version 6.0. Mountain View, CA: The Unicode Consortium, pp. 534-535 (Section 16.5).
Secondary sources
Proposal

Rejang

The Rejang script is used for the Rejang language in southeast Sumatra, Indonesia. It has been in use since the 18C. Rejang is descended from Brahmi, and derived from the Javanese script Old Kawi. The Rejang alphabet is used mainly to write magic spells and medical incantations and some poetry. Some examples have been cut into bamboo and bark. It is related to other scripts in Indonesia, such as Batak and Buginese.

Unicode blocks Rejang
Alternate names
Timeframe 18C to present
Regionen
Type abugida
Alternate names left to right
Status living
Number of speakers 350000
Sprachen
Main sources Kuipers, J., and R. McDermott. 1996. "Insular Southeast Asian Scripts" in The World’s Writing Systems, ed. Peter T. Daniels & William Bright. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 474-484.
Secondary sources Nakanishi, Akira. 1980. Writing Systems of the World. Rutland, Vermont; Tokyo: Charles Tuttle, p. 81.
Proposal http://std.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc2/wg2/docs/n3096.pdf

Rumi Numeral Symbols

Rumi, also known as Fasi, is a numeric system originating from the Coptic or Greek-Coptic tradition. Rumi numerals were used from the 10th to 17th centuries CE, across a wide area spanning from Egypt, across the Maghreb, to al-Andalus on the Iberian Peninsula. The numbers appear in manuscripts of religious, scientific, accounting and mathematical works, as well as on astronomical instruments.

Unicode blocks Rumi Numeral Symbols
Alternate names
Timeframe 10C to 17C
Regionen
Type numeric
Alternate names left to right
Status historical
Number of speakers 0
Sprachen
Main sources The Unicode Consortium. 2011. The Unicode Standard, Version 6.0, defined by: The Unicode Standard, Version 6.0. Mountain View, CA: The Unicode Consortium, p. 487 (Section 15.3).
Secondary sources
Proposal http://std.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc2/wg2/docs/n3430.pdf; http://www.ucam.ac.ma/fssm/rydarab/doc/unicode/n3087-1.pdf;

Runic

The Runic script was used from ca. 1C until the 19C to write the languages of the early and medieval societies in the German, Scandinavian, and Anglo-Saxon areas. There are approximately 6,000 Runic inscriptions. During its history, the Runic alphabet changed numerous times, both in the number and the shapes of the letters contained in it. It is also known as futhark after the first six letters.

Unicode blocks Runic
Alternate names
Timeframe 1C to 19C
Regionen
Type alphabet
Alternate names variable
Status historical
Number of speakers 0
Sprachen
Main sources Elliott, R. 1996. "The Runic Script" in The World’s Writing Systems, ed. Peter T. Daniels & William Bright. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 333-339.
Secondary sources
Proposal

Samaritan

The Samaritan script is used to write Samaritan Hebrew and Samaritan Aramaic. Although the script is used today mainly for religious purposes, modern Samaritans, who number about 600 and reside on the West Bank and in Israel, continue to make use of a variety of the Samaritan script. A weekly newspaper is published in Israel in it. The script also appears in hundreds of manuscripts.

Unicode blocks Samaritan
Alternate names
Timeframe x3C to present
Regionen
Type abjad
Alternate names right to left
Status liturgical
Number of speakers
Sprachen
Main sources Macuch, Rudolf. 1969. Grammatik des samaritanischen Hebräisch. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
Secondary sources Ben-Hayyam, Ze’ev. 2000. A grammar of Samaritan Hebrew, based on the Recitation of the Law in comparison with the Tiberian and other Jewish traditions. Jersualem: Hebrew University Magnes Press.
Proposal http://std.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc2/wg2/docs/n3377.pdf

Saurashtra

The Saurashtra script is used to write the Saurashtra language, an Indo-European language that is spoken in southern India. It has been in use since the late 19C. Saurashtra is derived from Brahmi. The language is also written with the Devanagari, Tamil, and Telugu scripts, though today Tamil predominates.

Unicode blocks Saurashtra
Alternate names
Timeframe late 19C to present
Regionen
Type abugida
Alternate names left to right
Status living
Number of speakers 310000
Sprachen
Main sources Norihiko Uida. 1991. Language of the Saurashtrans in Tirupati. 2nd revised ed. Bangalore:Mahalaxmi Enterprises.
Secondary sources
Proposal http://std.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc2/wg2/docs/n2969.pdf

Shavian

The Shavian script, also known as the Shaw script, is used for the phonetic spelling of English and contains 40 letters. Playwright George Bernard Shaw directed in his will that the Public Trustee in Britain search for and publish an alphabet for English with 40 (or fewer) letters. This request from Shaw was an attempt to address the idiosyncrasies of English orthography. The script that was selected was devised by Kingsley Read, but has not met with widespread acceptance. A version of Shaw's play Androcles and the Lion: An Old Fable Renovated was published containing English spelling and Shavian, and is generally accepted as the normative version of the script.

Unicode blocks Shavian
Alternate names
Timeframe 1958
Regionen
Type alphabet
Alternate names left to right
Status artificial
Number of speakers
Sprachen
Main sources Crystal, David. 1997. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. 2nd ed. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, p. 216.
Secondary sources Shaw, George Bernard. 1962. Androcles and the Lion: An Old Fable Renovated, by Bernard Shaw, with a Parallel Text in Shaw’s Alphabet to Be Read in Conjunction Showing Its Economies in Writing and Reading. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
Proposal

Sinhala

The Sinhala script, also called Sinhalese, is used to write the Sinhala language (the majority language in Sri Lanka), Tamil, and the liturgical languages Pali and Sanskrit. The script descends from Brahmi and resembles the scripts of South Asia.

Unicode blocks Sinhala
Alternate names
Timeframe x-3C (or -2C) to present
Regionen
Type abugida
Alternate names left to right
Status living
Number of speakers 19.2 million
Sprachen
Main sources Gair, J. 1996. "Sinhala Writing” in The World’s Writing Systems, ed. Peter T. Daniels & William Bright. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 408-412.
Secondary sources
Proposal